Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ex Governor Pablo Salazar of Chiapas arrested

Ex governors are not arrested everyday in Mexico - though quite a few are prime candidates for being thrown behind bars - so the arrest of former Chiapas governor Pablo Salazar Mendiguchí (2000-2006) is quite a big deal.

A comparison with the recent arrest of Jorge Hank Rhon is inevitable, though it must be noted that Salazar was arrested in the Cancún airport on orders of the Chiapas government, not the federal authorities. He is accused, among other things, of embezzlement and the  abuse of authority, and several civil lawsuits are apparently also pending.

His attorney general, Mariano Herrán, was arrested in January 2009, and Salazar has now joined him in the El Amate prison, where both are now held.

Just like in the case of Hank Rhon one may ask, why now? Clearly the arrest of Salazar marks the definitive break with the current governor, Juan Sabines. Like Sabines, Salazar was a PRI member until he ditched the party to become an alliance candidate for a very wide coalition of parties - every single one, in fact, except from the PRI - that managed to kick out the PRI in 2000 in Chiapas

(the very same thing happened with Sabines; after losing the PRI nomination he was recruited by the PRD, though quickly broke with the party).

What is certainly clear the timing was right, with attention focused on Hank; likely there is as well much more here the eye, as last Friday, Salazar denounced in an interview a break in in his office where armed men apparently stole 50,000 flyers he had planned to hand out to defend himself.

Much dirty laundry remains to be aired.

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